The NHS budget and how it has changed

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Part of The NHS in a nutshell

NHS budget over time

Source: Department of Health annual report and accounts 2015/16; Central government supply estimates 2016-17, supplementary estimates and new estimates – Feb 2017; HM Treasury GDP deflators at market prices, and money GDP March 2017 (Quarterly national accounts, March 2017)

Planned spending for the Department of Health in England is approximately £123.7 billion in 2017/18 (at 2017/18 prices).

In the 2015 Spending Review the government announced that funding for the Department of Health would increase to £133.1 billion (or £126.5 billion at 2017/18 prices after adjusting for inflation) by 2020/21. The increase in health spending between 2015/16 and 2020/21 is less than the government has claimed, mainly because ministers have chosen to highlight the funding provided to NHS England only, rather than the Department of Health’s total budget.

Though NHS funding is continuing to grow, the rate of growth is slowing considerably compared to historical trends. The Department of Health budget will grow by 1.1 per cent in real terms between 2009/10 and 2020/21. This is far below the long-term average increases in health spending of approximately 4 per cent a year (in real terms) since the NHS was established.

Looking ahead, between 2017/18 and 2019/20 the Department of Health budget will increase by just 0.6 per cent on average each year in real terms. This will place increasing pressure on the NHS, as demand for services is continuing to grow .